Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 70, Issue 3, pp 299–313 | Cite as

From global problems to international norms: what does the social construction of a global corruption problem tell us about the emergence of an international anti-corruption norm

  • Elitza Katzarova


This article examines the ontological contestation that is inherent to the emergence of an international anti-corruption norm. First, the article briefly analyses the compatibility of an agenda on the social construction of problems from sociology and the well-established study of norms in constructivist IR. It argues that an analytical shift from the study of norms to the social construction of problems can shed light on the power relations that underlie international norms, and corruption in particular. The article traces the emergence of a global corruption problem up to the early 2000s when scholars have traditionally placed the establishment of an international anti-corruption norm. It first shows the contestation of corruption as a global issue on the level of problem definition, and then, it shows the role of venue shopping and venue shifting in the diffusion of anti-corruption talks and the norm cascade of the 1990s. The article concludes with an analysis of how the social construction of problems challenges the conventional approach of the emergence of an international anti-corruption norm.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Social ScienceTechnical University of BraunschweigBraunschweigGermany

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